As easy as incarnation

When Advent comes round, I know it’s time to take an intellectual deep breath, and to try to get my mind around the mystery of Word made flesh. Not that I ever will, but the imagination likes to try. Each year, the lines from some old hymn pops up at this point:

Our God contracted to a span;

Incomprehensibly made man.

It makes the incarnation sound so difficult. But I wonder… Surely an omnipotent God, who hurls galaxies into distant space, can enter this world as easily as we can flick a crumb from our finger?

Or was it the risk involved that was the difficult part? The love of the Trinity straddling earth and heaven, compressed into flesh, hemmed in by time, knowing human pain, and ultimately experiencing separation for a time?

I don’t know. But we do have some inkling of what incarnation means for us. It means being willing to enter other’s worlds, as the Word entered ours. It means laying aside our status, our ‘glory’, to get alongside others. It means being willing to pop up in the backstreets of the world, where kings can’t find us. It means opening ourselves to becoming refugees in this world. It means paying attention to the details of this person, this place, this story. It means honouring the body, and resistance to those who abuse or destroy it.

This isn’t something to get my mind around, after all. If only it were that easy.

4 thoughts on “As easy as incarnation

  1. Thank you, Duncan. The image of the Word compressed and constrained in order to become one of us echos Rosemary’s Gabriel and is becoming an abiding one for me this Advent.

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